Somnambule - Writing About Music

Blockhead ~ Music by Cavelight

Read on so that next Monday night when you’re doing your monthly pub quiz you’ll be able to answer the following question: ‘name two other things Blockhead has done besides record an album’. Clue: Blockhead used to be a comedian. Blockhead used to rap, but gave it up. Oh and Blockhead hails from NYC. That’s the bio for you. Onto the music.

Blockhead is classic NinjaTune stylee – magpie’s beak pecking up glittering things here, there and everywhere. Must confess to not having listened to much of the label’s output in a while. Was a fan from the first Tricknology compilation right up to the third. Was sad that they discontinued their NTone sub-label. This release sort of reminds me of early DJ Vadim, the best bits of 9 Lazy 9. Music By Cavelight makes you smile and makes you move your feets while a melancholy heart beats within.

Insomniac Olympics starts with a nice woozy horn rendition of Aaron Copland’s ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’ succeeded by a melancholic piano solo against hiphop drums and fretless bass. Violins next. Then something almost like an aciiiiiiid voice, pitched out of recognition, but retaining the tune. Haven’t done this yet, but can imagine singing along enthusiastically to this when drunk, then again who needs alcohol? Next track ‘Carnivores Unite’ gives you disco bass, Bubber Miley wah-wah trumpet, another frisky hiphop rhythm, a lovely bit of what might be Django Reinhardt guitar and a brief episode of possibly Arturo Sandoval. This could be a musical interlude prepared for insertion into a remade On The Waterfront. And so the album continues.

Does Music By Cavelight last the course? Well, although it’s a variegated enterprise full of almost recognisable cuttings, snippets, snatches – its very variety seems to cause it to run out of steam somewhere about midway through. Or perhaps I’d had enough by then. Ultimately it depends which way you choose to view it – on a bad day it might be painting by numbers Ninja, on a good day a lovely, fun-filled musical collage.
Colin Buttimer
March 2004
Published by the BBC